The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Learn with Rio Grande: Basic Tools and Supplies to Begin Cloisonné

Apr 21, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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Silver, gold, bronze. These are the typical colors in the jeweler’s palette. But what if you could incorporate eye-popping color into your pieces with just a few simple steps? Enameling, and cloisonné enameling in particular, gives you the power to play with color in any piece you make. And it’s easy to get started.

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18th Century Cloisonne and Bronze Chinese Wine Pot

The artistic possibilities with cloisonné are never-ending. The process involves using strip or wire to form small compartments that can then hold enamel. The artform dates back to ancient times, when artisans used pieces of glass and stones in place of modern enamels.

Master enamelist Ricky Frank has taught several classes on the technique here at Rio, the most recent of which was at our Winter Workshop in January. His students are always asking, "What do I need at my bench to get started?".

The answer is, not much! Here are the basics you’ll need to set up your enameling workshop!

The Tools:

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The Blazer Butane Microtorch and the Stainless Steel Mesh Firing Rack are all the tools you need to begin experimenting with cloisonné.

  1. This little Blazer Butane Microtorch has all the firepower you need to get started working with enamels right on your bench, and its compact, economical form makes it ideal for beginners. Torch-firing enamels is a great way to get started with a limited investment. If you try it out and LOVE it (which we’re pretty sure you will) you can upgrade to a kiln, which will give you more enameling options.
  2. A stainless steel mesh firing rack allows you to torch fire pieces from underneath.

The Findings:

  1. Copper Sheet: Copper sheet and findings are a great way to practice when you’re getting started. Move on to fine silver as you gain confidence.
  2. Copper Strip Wire: Solder on to sheet or findings to create compartments.
  3. Pre-Cut Copper Stampings: Buy the shapes you need pre-cut so you can get right to enameling.

The Supplies:

supplies

Left to right: Thompson Lead-Free Enamels come in zillions of colors, and Rio's Enamel Adhesive keeps your enamel where you put it.

  1. Thomspon Lead-Free Enamels: Thompson Enamels come in an incredible range of colors and shades, including transparent and opaque, so whatever you dream up, you can create.
  2. Enamel Adhesive: Holds your enamel in place and burns off during firing.

Would you like to get everything you need to get started (and a little more) in one easy package? Pick up the  Thompson Enamel Beginner’s Kit. The only additional thing you’ll need to buy with this kit is a torch or kiln.

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Head over to Rio's website to try the Enameled Cloisonné Pendant Project!

Ready to get started? Begin practicing techniques with this basic Enameled Cloisonné Pendant Project. Ricky Frank will be back at Rio teaching a Cloisonné Enameling Class in October, so you can learn from a master. Mark your calendar now!

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Education at Rio Grande: How Full is Your Techniques Toolbox?

Apr 10, 2014
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Viqui Sanchez
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New to making jewelry? This coming June, Rio will offer the Jewelry-Maker’s Techniques Toolbox, a 5-day hands-on learning extravaganza of jewelry techniques! Taught by designer, jewelry maker, and teacher Jim Dailing, this class will cover every basic technique jewelers need to stock their just-gettin’-started toolbox of skills. Find out more in today’s post at The Studio…

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Creating & Coloring Jewelry with Reactive Metals and Anodizing

Apr 7, 2014
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anodizedbracelet

Anodizing is a simple and fun way to add color to your niobium work. What, you don’t work in niobium?? Why not? Niobium is hypoallergenic and naturally silver-gray with an extraordinary capacity to take on color using nothing more than a micro anodizer and a cup of electrolyte.

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Get in the Jewelry Game on Rio’s Facebook Fan Page

Apr 3, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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Every week or so, Rio Grande posts a call for entries on its Facebook fan page. These quick little contests call for jewelry and art objects that meet various parameters. We’ve asked for everything from filigree jewelry to cloisonné pieces. From PMC pieces to horse-themed jewelry. Take a look at today’s post to learn how you can “get in the jewelry game,” and have your craftsmanship admired by thousands!

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Education at Rio Grande: PMC and Intermediate Stone-Setting Classes Coming in May

Mar 26, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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Have you ever been disappointed to find that the end product of your jewelry design did not quite live up to what you had envisioned? Consider this: The more techniques you have at your disposal, the more satisfied you’ll be with your results. Rio Grande offers classes that can take your jewelry making to the next level. Read about three such classes coming up in May and then register before they fill up!

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Happy First Day of Spring! Fresh and Colorful Jewelry Packaging

Mar 20, 2014
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Bernadette Bennett
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Spring is here! Today, on the Studio, Bernadette Bennett shares her tips for dressing up your jewelry with fresh, colorful, spring-inspired packaging!

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Jewelry Design Options: Mixing COPPRclay and New WHITE COPPRclay

Mar 19, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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Rio recently introduced new WHITE COPPRclay to its line of base metal clays, and every clay artist in the building could hardly wait to work with it. After giving him some time to experiment, we cornered Rio Grande metal clay artist and Tech Team member Thomas Flores and asked him what he’s discovered about this exciting new color of COPPRclay. Read about his experiences today at The Studio.

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What’s New? Jewelry News on Rio Grande’s Twitter Page

Mar 17, 2014
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Amy Cliser
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Did you know that every day of the week, Rio Grande’s Twitter page is abuzz with jewelry industry news and Rio Grande updates? Your life is busy, so we want to make it simple for you to find interesting and relevant information in ONE place. Our Twitter feed delivers up-to-date news on the jewelry world and on the hottest Rio Grande products.

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Business Savvy: Ten Steps to Facebook Success for Jewelers

Feb 27, 2014
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Nina Cooper
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Social media holds many opportunities for promoting your jewelry business, but where do you begin? One effective—and manageable—place to start is to create a business page on Facebook. Millions of people post, like, share, make buying decisions, and see your images and posts on Facebook. Here’s how to gather your own fan base on Facebook, from start to finish.

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Ashli’s Tumbler Series: Top-of-the-Line Jewelry Tumble-Finishing with Avalon

Feb 24, 2014
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In this fourth installment of Ashli’s Tumbler Series, she introduces us to Avalon Centrifugal tumblers. Avalon tumblers are easy to operate and provide a remarkably quick and consistent jewelry finish. They also eliminate media impingement (surface deformation or dimpling) that can be caused by certain media in other finishers. Check out this and ALL of Ashli’s tumbler posts to find the right tumbler for your needs!

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